How to save money using your EV with vehicle-to-grid (V2G)
If you own or have thought about purchasing an electric vehicle, you may have discovered the money-saving opportunities that come along with it.
What if we told you not only could you save money with your EV, but you could make it?
If you own a qualifying vehicle with a bidirectional EV charger, both from the grid to charge your car and from your car to the grid, then you could be knocking money off your electricity bill.
How does V2G work?
The general idea of vehicle-to-grid technology is that you can take your unused electric vehicle, with a full battery, and sell the energy back to the national grid. This supplies the grid with electricity in times of high demand, whilst saving or even earning you money for your unused electricity.
Studies have shown that the majority of EV's go unused - sitting in the driveway holding hostage to power which could be better used elsewhere.
A long-standing argument against electric vehicles is the national power supply - will it be able to handle the sudden uptake of electric vehicles?
Although this claim has been debunked, Vehicle to grid technology provides one solution to the argument. EV users can supplement their energy back to the grid, which is not only cost-effective for the vehicle owner, but ensures the grid will be able to cope with this high energy demand.
So how can I make money with EV charging?
V2G technology is initially grid-to-vehicle technology, as the energy comes from the grid to charge your vehicle in the first place.
You can make money from the V2G scheme by charging your vehicle when demand is low, and energy is cheaper. These times may vary depending on your country and energy supplier, but the general rule is off-peak prices will come around overnight when fewer people are using the energy.
You can then sell that energy back to the national grid when you have it spare, and take advantage of the off and on peak times by selling your energy back on a peak-time, meaning you sold the energy for less than you paid for it.
One of the only downsides to V2G technology right now is there isn't a lot of it available. Right now V2G is only compatible with a few vehicles, notably the Nissan LEAF and the NISSAN 2-NV200. These devices are integrated with CHAdeMO charging technology which allows faster charging and a two-way exchange of electricity, which makes vehicle-to-grid possible.
Will V2G affect the battery life of my car?
Although the jury is out on how your battery life will be affected by V2G technology, there have been studies that suggest V2G technology both degrades your battery and extends it. More research is needed before we can conclude that V2G will have a positive or negative effect on your vehicle's battery life.
The battery cells inside the battery of an electric vehicle are mostly made of lithium, nickel and cobalt. The batteries are known to have a limited number of charge cycles before the batteries will degrade - reducing the capacity and therefore shortening the distance you can drive on a single charge. If you have a smartphone, you've probably seen this happen as your phone holds less charge over the years when the battery degrades.
It is estimated that electric vehicle batteries lose about 2.3% of their starting range every year. This means that even if you arent using V2G technology, you can expect your vehicle's battery to degrade over time. To solve this, you can purchase replacement battery packs. There are also plenty of tips and tricks to help your battery last longer, such as the 20%-80% rule, and minimising rapid charging.
Luckily, as the UK gets more and more comfortable with electric vehicles, more charging points are being installed up and down the country. This means even if slight battery degradation is an issue, you can rest assured you will still be able to travel without losing your charge completely.